USTA league: Opponent asks me to move a ball...

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Tyler91, Mar 22, 2014.

  1. Tyler91

    Tyler91 Rookie

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    So, during a USTA singles match (3.5), my opponent keeps asking me to move balls that are on my side of the court. For example, if his first serve is out, and I hit it into the net. If it rolls into the alley, or more than a couple fee from the net, he stops play and requests me to move it.

    Second example is if I hit my first serve into the net and it rolls more than a few feet back into MY COURT, he asks me to clear it before I make my second serve. Do I have to stop play and move it?

    I'm not asking if I SHOULD MOVE the ball to avoid injury, or what happens if a ball in-play strikes that ball. I know the answers to that. I'm asking if there's a rule that says I HAVE TO move it if it's on my side of the net???

    It was clear that this was just my opponent's tactics to disrupt the rhythm of the match, so i don't want to move the balls. He swore up and down that the USTA rules say I have to move any ball on my side of the court when the opponent asks me to do so. I think that's BS...am I right?
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2014
  2. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    I think he's wrong. It should be enough for him if you simply say, "It's okay" when he requests a ball be moved. But I can't prove a negative. Did he say where that rule is written?
     
  3. 10ispro

    10ispro Rookie

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    BALL ISSUES
    41. Retrieving stray balls. Each player is responsible for removing stray balls and other objects from the player’s end of the court. A player’s request to remove a ball from the opponent’s court must be honored. A player shall not go behind an adjacent court to retrieve a ball, nor ask a player for return of a ball from players on an adjacent court until their point is over. When a player returns a ball that comes from an adjacent court, the player shall wait until their point is over and then return it directly to one of the players, preferably the server.
     
  4. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Last edited: Mar 22, 2014
  5. Devil_dog

    Devil_dog Semi-Pro

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    Last edited: Mar 22, 2014
  6. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    I think it's a recent rule change, it sounds nuts. It used to be you were responsible for your side of the court, now some dickhole can make you his lapdog apparently. Haven't seen it at the club yet, hell they don't even know the old rules, forged about the new ones.
     
  7. GMay

    GMay New User

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    To Tennis Tom, this is not a recent rule change. It has been the rule for as long as I have been playing tennis with more than five years.
     
  8. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    The rule has been in the code for a long time but a few years ago it was modified to make it clearer what the responsibilities were.

    Old wording from 2010: A player's request to remove a ball from the opponent's Court must be honored.

    New wording from 2011 to 2014: Whenever a ball is not in play, a player must honor an opponent's request to remove a ball from the court or from an area outside the court that is reasonably close to the lines.
     
  9. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Thanks, that's what I was referring to.
     
  10. coyote

    coyote Rookie

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    I do it and there is no gamesmanship intended. I don't want it in my field of vision. It has been a rule as long as I can recall. My league/tournament tennis history goes back into the 1980s.
     
  11. Tyler91

    Tyler91 Rookie

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    Thank you all who replied. Great info here. I especially loved Tom's use of the words 'dickhole' and 'lapdog'. That perfectly captures my feelings about this tactic. Tom, we should have a beer sometime.

    Any ideas on how I can neutralize this tactic when it happens next time? I will be playing him again and again.

    1) Be a polite lapdog and just don't let it bug me?
    2) Tap the ball back onto his side of the court so he has to retrieve it? haha I wouldn't do this but it would be awesome.
    3) ..........now I'm out of ideas
     
  12. IA-SteveB

    IA-SteveB Professional

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    Next time just fight him in the parking lot. That will settle it. :)
     
  13. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Strategies? Yes.

    Do not leave balls lying on the court.

    You're welcome!
     
  14. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    When i'm playing "just for fun" matches, I sometimes leave balls on the court because I'm lazy.

    But when it's time to play a tournament or USTA match, then I always keep my side of the court clear. Before the point, I never tell my opponent that he needs to clear his side, but I kindly suggest it. I don't want the distraction of worrying whether or not he'll slip on the ball.

    But if he doesn't, I'm not going to cry to the officials.
     
  15. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    I've never been asked to do so, but i see how it might get into someone's vision, causing confusion. That's the only reason I see for the rule.
     
  16. cknobman

    cknobman Legend

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    I was not there so I cannot directly comment if your opponent is being unreasonable

    BUT

    When I play and see balls on the other persons side of the court unless they are sitting up against the fence sometimes it bothers me.

    Lets say the ball is a foot outside of the doubles alley around the service line area OR the ball is a two feet outside the doubles alley near the baseline.
    That bothers me because when they are not picked up the entire point I am distracted because I am hoping the ball does not go wide and force my opponent near it. I get afraid the ball will be a hindrance.

    That is why I ask balls to be picked up sometimes.
     
  17. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    If there's a ball on the other side of the court in the box, I aim for it. If he leaves a ball on the court and steps on it, that's his problem--a win's a win. I've warned guys about balls behind them and some of them don't care, they are macho--after the second or third warning I don't mention it again. If the ball is between the player and the net I'll drop-shot him so he has to run over it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2014
  18. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    If his serve is out don't hit the ball. If you net your first serve, clear it. (It doesn't sound like the guy was asking to clear balls against the net -- the only real exasperating tactic.)
     
  19. winstonlim8

    winstonlim8 Semi-Pro

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    An opponent once refused to clear the balls on his side of the court in spite of my politely mentioning it three times...and then he had the cheek to demand a let when he stepped on one in the middle of a point.

    I smiled, moved to the other side of the court and got ready to serve.
     
  20. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    Yes, you have to move the ball out of your court if your opponent ask. This rule has been around for at least 35 years. Most good players don't mind clearing a ball if it is in or near their court and the opponent ask. The opponent can also clear his court if a 1st serve hits the fence or back wall and rolls back into or near his court. I don't ask if the ball lands out of the way like near the back stop or very near the net but I would not hesitate to ask if it is near or in the playing area of their court. Most people I know move the ball without being asked.
     
  21. Tyler91

    Tyler91 Rookie

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    Thanks for all the comments. That's a big help.
     
  22. Chelsie1

    Chelsie1 Rookie

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    I usually make a point to discuss balls left on the court before the match starts--requesting that all balls be picked up or moved off the court. When I forget, I ask that it be picked up the first time it's left on the court. When they ask why, I say because I asked you. When they ask "do I have to?", I say yes. When they say it's not bothering me, I say but it's bothering me. I don't use it as a tactic. I've just learned to play on a "clean" court.

    Hi Cindy.
     
  23. kevrol

    kevrol Rookie

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    Played a guy last night who didn't clear any balls off his side of the court. One of them was right inside the baseline and he proceeded to serve. When the volleying started I purposely avoided hitting it to where the ball was. After hitting it away from the ball 4-5 times I finally decided if he was going to leave it there then that's his fault. Hit my next shot right at the ball and he was so worried about stepping on it he couldn't get a clean shot. He didn't leave any more on the court after that.
     
  24. Sumo

    Sumo Semi-Pro

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    This is how I handle it too.
     
  25. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    One more good reason to cleanly bunt the ball back over the net :):)
     
  26. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    Although balls at the net can be a visual hindrance as well...
     
  27. mydogsparty

    mydogsparty New User

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    I'm going to guess that you opponent finds it harder to concentrate while a dead ball lies in his field of vision hence he asks you to clear them. It sounds like you're obligated to remove any dead ball from your side of the court that is in the field of play or "reasonably" close to the lines.

    Your best option is #1 above. Don't be that guy that purposely leaves the balls in your opponents line of sight yet still safely out of play. Just pick them up. AND practice, practice, practice so that you can cleanly beat the guy every time regardless of the location of any dead balls. That's always the best solution to an opponent that drives you nuts.
     
  28. MyTennisTools

    MyTennisTools New User

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    Why he's number one in world!

    The world's number one player (in an age group tournament) once refused (with some choice words) to move a ball on his side of the net that was in my field of view for returning serve. No one had ever refused this request before, so I didn't know the rule and backed down.
    You can bet I went a looked it up! That was about 10 years ago and I still ask that the ball be moved if it's in my field of vision when returning serve. No gamesmanship intended and most higher-level players don't have to be asked, they just naturally move the ball to the side of the court. Excepting my example above and I think that was a testosterone thing - maybe that attitude was why he was number one!
     

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